Water Treatment 101: When & Why Should I Treat Backcountry Water?

The natural landscape is a dynamic place, and therefore, the water sources that flow through it are ever-changing in their quality. While a wilderness source may seem perfectly clear and clean, it can be carrying microscopic pathogens—harmful, disease-causing organisms that are invisible to the naked eye. Water sources near popular backcountry camp spots are higher in risk due to the high human traffic. Other sources, such as glacier streams in the alpine, where there’s little human or animal presence can actually be pretty low-risk. Still, the simple truth remains: The only real way to verify that your water is safe to drink is to treat it. And the effort it takes to treat water is minor compared to the complications of illness. What are the risks in undeveloped sources? Undeveloped…

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A Commitment to Safety: Inside MSR’s World-Class Water Research Lab

Behind every MSR water treatment and hydration product is a team of scientists dedicated to researching, developing and testing the latest in water treatment solutions. Established in 1997, our on-site microbiology lab is crucial to MSR’s water program and the safety and reliability of our products. Initially founded to ensure quality control, today the lab’s world-class efforts stretch into research of new technologies, testing and development for the U.S. military, and contracts with nonprofit organizations working in developing nations. The lab is located at our Seattle headquarters, in close proximity to our production lines, and is staffed by five scientists with advanced degrees in chemical engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, environmental science and cellular and molecular biology. The world inside this small space is fascinating, with an incredible amount of scientific knowledge….

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School’s Out for Winter: SnowSchool’s Outdoor Science Classroom

This January, 70 elementary kids filed out of Boise’s Bogus Basin Nordic Center in groups led by SnowSchool volunteer guides. They were bound for the surrounding wilderness and the educational wonders it held. As they ventured through the forest on snowshoes, they caught glimpses of Treasure Valley and the Seven Devils Range in the distance. Along the way, they stopped to learn about the area’s plants and animals, discuss its ecosystem, and conduct a snow pit analysis. For many students, this was their first time snowshoeing—and their first visit to a national forest. For 10 years, the SnowSchool has aimed to introduce students, often those underserved, to winter’s landscape and ecology, and foster an appreciation for nature, as well as a healthy, active lifestyle through snowshoe recreation. Every year, the…

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